Monday, April 16, 2012
Where Brandan Wright doesn't fit
By Jeff Caplan
LOS ANGELES -- Brandan Wright is one Mavericks player who hopes he doesn't have to see the Lakers again.
"If we do play them [in the first round], if it goes the way we’ve been playing this year, I guess I will be a non-factor," Wright said. "But, we’ll figure something out. We’ve got smart people around here."
Wright has blossomed into a productive backup center for the Mavs, on some nights eclipsing the playing time of not only Ian Mahinmi, but Brendan Haywood, too. That's not the case when Dallas faces the large front line of the Lakers that features 7-foot, 285-pound Andrew Bynum in the middle and flanked by 7-foot Pau Gasol.
Over the last 13 games, Wright, a 6-10 power forward converted to center in the Mavs' system, has averaged 29.1 minutes in 10 of them. In the other three he averaged 4.7 minutes. Those were games against Orlando, Memphis and Sunday's game against the Lakers.
The common thread? Big men. Really big.
"We like what he brings obviously, but to guard Bynum, he’s a little too light in the pants," Nowitzki said of the 210-pound Wright. "Bynum’s got him by at least 40 or 50 pounds, so that’s a tough matchup for him."
Wright's limited minutes in Sunday's 112-108 overtime loss to the Kobe-less Lakers, came mostly when Bynum took a seat. Midway through the fourth quarter, Wright shared the court with Bynum and fouled him for an and-1 and moments later gave up a massive, two-handed putback slam.
"We were in a zone both times," Wright said. "We had some confusion."
Next up is tonight's game at the Utah Jazz and 6-10, 289-pound center Al Jefferson. The teams last met in January before Wright began to emerge as rotation player. He's logged three minutes against the Jazz.
"Whenever I’ve played, I’ve been productive," Wright said. "If I’m on the floor, I’ll be productive. I’m not really worried about the matchup. I've just got to find a way to make some plays. But, other matchups are better at the 5. We’ll see what happens."